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Howelsen Hill landslide damages chairlift, Alpine slide

The remnants of a spring landslide on Howelsen Hill are visible next to the Alpine slide. The landslide is believed to have moved one of the chairlift towers and shifted some of the tracks on the slide.
Scott Franz

— When workers performed some routine maintenance on the chairlift at Howelsen Hill this spring, they found something unsettling.

Tower No. 6 had moved a bit since the winter.

“We inspected the area and saw the earth around (the tower) was moving and sliding a little bit,” said Craig Robinson, the city’s parks, open space and trails manager.



The spring landslide, which Robinson described as a slow creep on the saddle of the city’s historic ski hill, also shifted some of the tracks of the Alpine slide.

Although the latest landslide wasn’t as dramatic or as visible as the last one on the hill’s steep face, the damage could be costly and delay the opening of the Alpine slide.



Robinson said the landslide largely followed the same path as a previous slide on the hill.

The city is currently working with consultants to assess the damage and determine the scope of the repairs.

“The tower literally needs to be relocated,” Robinson said. “The next step is to fix the chairlift and bring it back to an approved state where the tramway board will approve it. We want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

City Manager Deb Hinsvark told the Steamboat Springs City Council the repairs associated with the slide are expected to be costly.

Robinson said the landslide’s impact on the Alpine slide wasn’t as substantial as the chairlift.

Repairing the Alpine slide will likely involve putting sections of track back together and stabilizing the earth beneath it.

“It may not be open for Memorial Day,” Robinson said.

The instability of Howelsen Hill has long been an issue for the city.

In the wake of a landslide last year, which cost the city tens of thousands of dollars to fix, the city created a $50,000 contingency budget specifically for Howelsen Hill landslide repairs.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10


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